Woke up 7:15, feeling rested and strong, happy to have finally defeated the cold which plagued me for weeks 😀 The day started-out in the usual way… walked straight from my bed to the kitchen to turn on the kettle, then to the living room for 10 empty-lung-stretches, getting my lungs, ribcage and diaphragm diving ready (helps tone the abdominals too!). I sipped warm water with honey – my beverage of choice on diving days – a subpar substitute for my beloved coffee.
After stretching, a quick shower, then 15 minutes of meditation, using the Headspace app on my phone (don’t know what I’d do without it). The topic of the meditation was kindness and compassion, the introduction:
For some people genuinely it is very, very difficult to wrap their heads around being kind to themselves. If we look at the two different words they’re so similar, compassion and kindness, but if we could find any difference in the two then perhaps we can say; compassion is more about not wanting someone to suffer, not wanting someone to experience anything bad. Whereas kindness is perhaps wishing that someone was well, hoping that somebody does experience something positive.
So when we apply this to the exercise and to this practice, even if we can’t sort of muster up that feeling of wanting to be kind to ourselves, of wishing ourselves to be happy and well, at the very least I think all of us can identify with this idea of this compassion, self compassion, not wanting to be unhappy, not wanting to struggle, to have difficulty in either, our body, our mind, situations in our life, so where ever you are on that kind of scale just making sure that there is a point that feels ‘yeah okay I can really relate to that’, so applying that idea of compassion as well as kindness.
Good food for thought…
I followed my meditation with 5 minutes of visualization, proving somewhat difficult as I’m not used to visualizing myself doing constant weight dives, I have no idea even what I look like diving with a monofin. But did my best to imagine and when the song, Airstream, by Electra, finished, I ate a delicious peach, packed-up and off to the Blue Hole I went.
In the water, my first warm-up dive, I have to admit, wasn’t great 🙁 I struggled with feelings of discomfort and tension. Negative thoughts filled my mind to the brim. “Today is not your day” “Why are you doing this?” “Why is this so difficult?” As one thought left another came in, an endless cycle…
After my dive, as Nick breathed-up, I was left with a moment alone to reflect. I certainly wanted to dive happily and well, but for one reason or another it wasn’t happening. I thought of the meditation earlier, relating to the idea of self-compassion, connecting with the seemingly very real thoughts of not wanting to struggle, of not wanting to have difficulty in my dives and not wanting to be without happiness. “But how?” – the million dollar question. I decided to just try and relax, stop being so hard on myself, heck it’s the first day training in four days, and after weeks of battling a terrible stomach sickness and then a cold and sinus infection. How about just try to relax and enjoy the next warm-ups, and worse case I don’t do a deep dive, and will just practice with the monofin.
Well the little self talk certainly helped! The following two FRC dives were actually a lot of fun, and surprisingly deep (for me) and surprisingly easy! I felt so deeply relaxed, and if I must say, pretty awesome, on both dives, keeping my eyes closed during the entire duration of the dives, wanting them to go on longer, in a blissful world of my own…
Now I figured, heck why not try and do a deep(ish) dive, I can always just turn early 🙂 I wasn’t quite sure how deep I should go… so I decided on a range… I knew I’d feel comfortable going between 45-50 meters. (50 meters my PB in CWT). So I decided to put a depth alert at both, one at 45 meters, another at 50 meters, this way if I felt good at 45, I’d just continue straight on through to 50.
I did my breathe-up face down in the water, breathing through a snorkel. The duckdive would be much easier from this position, rather than face-up, as it eliminated the flip-over step and the need of the noodle, which tended to get in the way more often than not. Also with my face already immersed in the water during the breathe-up, my fluid goggles were already filled with water, so I could see the line quite well at the start of the dive 😀 I took my last breaths and duckdived, aligning myself perfectly with the line. An excellent start, I descended fast and strong, and before I knew it, my first depth alarm sounded for my mouth-fill. I swept my arms through to my side, beginning free-fall, then immediately filled my mouth with air from my lungs, everything happened quickly and effortlessly.
I topped my mouth-fill again at around 25 meters and sank deeper and deeper, faster and faster. My free-fall was so fast that it felt like I was on a rollercoaster ride to the bottom. I could feel the water rushing by my face, my mind no choice but to be completely and totally present in this incredible moment.
My 45 meter alarm came so quick, I couldn’t believe it. “45 meters already? I’m gonna keep going!” I kept sinking, rapidly, my eyes completely closed, my mind and body relaxing and de-tensioning more and more. I felt the pressure slowly increasing and then my 50 meter alarm rang. I stopped, slightly begrudgingly, turned and began my ascent. Mermaiding up with arms overhead, in true bliss, still definitely my favorite part of the dive 🙂 With about 20 meters to go my thigh muscles, full of CO2 began burning. I let up on the kicking, and being a bit positively buoyant at this point I drifted up through the final meters.
I emerged, bolting through the surface and landed on the buoy. I did my recovery breathing which was quick, I felt fresh, the dive was easy, super easy. Looking at my computer, it read 51.8, a new (and unexpected!) PB in CTW. After eight months of training without a PB, a small win, a small victory in the grand scheme of things. A feeling of accomplishment waved over me, staying with me the entire rest of the day, definitely looking forward to the next training…
Something interesting I read recently on small wins…
“Small wins are exactly what they sound like, and are part of how keystone habits create widespread changes. A huge body of research has shown that small wins have enormous power, an influence disproportionate to the accomplishments of the victories themselves. “Small wins are a steady application of a small advantage,” one Cornell professor wrote in 1984. “Once a small win has been accomplished, forces are set in motion that favor another small win.”4.14 Small wins fuel transformative changes by leveraging tiny advantages into patterns that convince people that bigger achievements are within reach.” ―Charles Duhigg, The Power Of Habit: Why We Do What We Do In Life And Business
In practicing kindness, I’m hoping to experiencing the amazing power of small wins… 😉